The unbearable lightness of being a GM.


The picture above is my Dad and I in Colorado 1976…outside a defunct Goldmine.
Since this blog was originally based on our WoW guild and it’s life I thought I’d share some experiences running a guild, a World of Warcraft guild. Offer some tips, ideas, suggestions, what to do and not to do, and since this is from my experience there will be a lot of mistakes and your mileage WILL vary.


My leadership style started when I was a ripe age of 8 years old, I started my “Carl Sagan Space Club” where we would have meetings in my basement with graphs and pictures I’d make in my dads art studio (kics ASS studio). I had 5 members, all from the neighborhood ranging from 6-10 years old! I was/am a huge fan of Carl Sagan and his vision and at that time being influenced by Star Wars I got into Astronomy and all things about “Space”. I read all the books at Boyd Elementary 3 x over. I would lead them on expeditions searching for meteorites in the back woods, let them gaze up at the stars thru my K-Mart 20 Power Telescope and we’d all turn the pages of Car Sagans COSMOS book, which I  got for Christmas that year. I organized ranks for my 5 friends from me : Club Leader — Captain–jr. Captain–Private. It lasted for 6 months, we ended up calling it because 2 people moved away and the other 3 decided they liked to watch the Smurfs more than looking for Aliens and Artifacts. 

My entrance into gaming and being a leader started with Star Wars Galaxies. Alix and I were in a guild and I was totally into being a Master Architect and needed advice and help with starting this crafting profession ingame. I ran across a guy via the games forums looking for an apprentice to help with building his city. I msg’d him a few times and we clicked, he showed me the crafting ropes, gave me materials at no cost so I could become a Master Architect and help build items for his HUGE city (on Lok). He was the leader of his clan and city (Mayor) where he lead 100+ Imperials on raids, events and building an economy. I was inspired. Soon I started my own guild with like minded people and established relationships which I still have over the past 5 years, most of which came over to help me form The Old School guild. In order to maintain something like that you do have to have social skills. Not the elite uber skills that teens want but mature gamers over the age of 18 want and need. I specialize in just that. Mature, organized, no bullshit, relaxed-lets have fun, no pressure gaming. 

In regards to a World of Warcraft guild and leading a Guild it takes a lot more time vs. other MMO’s as there is really soooo much more to do and you have a wide variety of ages in your guild. We’ve had 8 year olds all the way up to 65 years. Our avg. age of core players is 30. Age is very important when leading a guild because you HAVE to know your audience. This will determine how you treat them and lead them in events, raids and overall time ingame. I always prefer older players because I don’t have to babysit them. We also have similar life experiences such as education, careers, family, music, movies and popular culture. Tis hard to relate to an 9 year old while trying to take down a Boss in Zul’Gurub when he says he has to log off to do homework and take out the garbage. I can relate in a sense that I have my own kids doing that but not while raiding! =P 

If you plan on making your own guild I would go with making it with your real life friends vs. complete strangers. Nothing worse than being usurped even before you take over the reigns. There are several type of guilds out there, here are some typical ones,of which each NEED different types of GM (Guild Masters) or leaders.

  • Casual Guilds : These are people who want structure but not enforced rules. Leaders of these need to be laid back but also serious about quelling any members who are TOO zealous about doing things. It’s a tricky thing to do as casuals tend to move onto more serious gaming and you don’t really see the transitions until it’s too late- they leave the guild.
  • Raiding Guilds : All these guilds do are high end content raids on set schedules, set ranks, rules enforced, DKP / Point systems *DKP is a term derived from EverQuest where members garned points they use to BID on items that drop during raids. It’s core being FAIR to those who show up on time and participate, most of the time it works but can be tricky and controversial. GM’s of these guilds have to be highly organized but not so much people persons because they don’t have to be. Why? Because whats at the end of the rainbow. EPICS. If you can stand being yelled at, humiliated, spit on, made fun of WHILE knowing your characters role you end up with the games best gear. Not mediocre, not decent but the BEST. You need thick skin if you lack skills and experience because you cannot hide behind a poor performance in a raid because they DO notice you. 
  • PvP Guilds: Person vs. person guilds are what they are. All you do is que up for the Battleground instances and garner honor and kills. You bank all of that til you hit X amount of honor and badges to cash in for gear. You learn from other players in your guild how to maximize your talent tree to do the most damage. This type of guild chat will be filled with LEET speak, bantering about chicks, fags, milfs and the latest Super Smash Brothers technique. They tend to be filled with Mountain Dew drinking teens whose only release is killing the opposing faction, ganking a lowbie and jackin off to a pre-recorded episode of THE HILLS. I kid. The GM’s of these types are geared to the teeth. They have respect among their peers or until they show weakness during a run or raid. 
  • Twink Guilds : See above.
  • Massive Wal-Mart guilds: These are super large guilds, much like our little sister guild ‘The Old School Academy” that ate too much at the Buffet. These are not selective in the recruitment process, it’s about numbers. You become a number unless you step up to the plate, but beware there are those in such guilds that will be catty if they see you as a threat. Build guilds offer plenty of opportunity for grouping up, always finding friends to do stuff with, provided you ASK and are polite. Their guild information log is FULL of people coming and going to and from the guild…think revolving door. This provides a guild with active chat and incessant cliques. Being a leader of this type takes a real people person and officers with the same attitude. I do NOT envy what Santha does in the guild, I know I couldn’t handle it….
  • Farm League guilds: These are guilds that help you level and progress. I tend to see my guild as a Farm League. My goal is to KEEP these members and not have them take off once they get to 70 or reach a certain level in the game. The grass is sometimes greener. 

My Guild : our guild is based on friendships and having fun. At least thats the underyling goal. We do have our hiccups along the way as ALL guilds go through transitions. Our recent transitions was when some select Officers wanted more structure and hounded me to make changes, even as much as to start a NEW guild for more serious gamers. I refused to partake in a new guild and also refused to relinquish my control of the guild to a “Democratic” guild where we vote on everything including voting on members I can Kick or Invite. Those officers left for a new server. We lost quite a few members along the way but recently have had an influx of new players. I am all for structure and believe I am good at leading this guild, however I cannot do it all. I have no officers that I can trust to lead or get things done in my absence. Irony is those officers that left talked the talk but never walked the walk. I structure my guild with officer ranks and take those seriously, I may make a new rank based on their leadership qualities. As a GM you must be patient, have forethought, trust and do not micro manage people as they are here at will, they pay to play. Always keep that in mind when a member makes a mistake. GM’s have a mostly thankless job and for those whom have never lead a guild have NO CLUE what we do to keep things together and balanced. If your ambition is to lead on, try ranking up in your current guild, establish a relationship with other officers and the GM, ASK to help out. This will give you the experience in dealing with a wide variety of personality types. 




Filed under World of Warcraft

5 responses to “The unbearable lightness of being a GM.

  1. As a new member, I find Old School to be a very comfortable and friendly guild. I try to take part in the chat and answer questions when I can, but at 40 there are not many lower levels for me to help out.

    Most of the peeps seem nice, have seen a couple limited requests for assistance that bordered on begging, but everybody has a rough spot sooner or later. I like that even when there is not a scheduled event, 2 or 3 of the guildies will team up to grind rep, or run a Dungeon for loot. Also they seem pretty good about using their professions in support of one another.

    For leadership, I got no idea. I mean there is a guy I think has potential (great people skills and a can-do attitude) but he’s got a lot to learn about the game. And somebody lead Kara the other night for you didn’t they?

  2. He organized it as far as getting guild members to go but other than that I am unsure. Generally on Kara runs you will have 1-2 leaders who are experienced, most of the members are still new to the instance. I lead in Kara runs for the first couple bosses as well as the vent, time/schedule and loot. Problem in our guild (IMO) is that we have great people, mature attitudes, help you out when they can BUT few want to actually LEAD instances. It is a daunting task to lead 9 other people but it just takes practice and the first few steps. I never claim to know it all but will lead and do just to get things done/rolling.

    I’m glad your enjoying your time in the guild and if I wasn’t so busy last week and this week/next I would help you out. Rule of thumb for those under 60 is to be in our sister guild but real life friends of existing members are exempt. =D Keep on truckin!

  3. Well I have been teaming with Logtar and KCgeek when we are all on. 50 shouldn’t be a big issue, but I have only gone 60+ once. Thats why I chose hunter for my first char an Azshara, I have the most experience leveling one. Not sure what to do for my second…

  4. kaari

    Wow, the fonze is your dad. 😀

  5. You should check out if you are recruiting or looking for a guild. We are the fastest growing guild recruitment website for WOW. Its 100% free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s